Making “BORED” into an Acronym

Simcha Fisher has started a new game over at her blog (whether she meant to or not – nah, she meant to), wherein the word ‘bored’ is repurposed as an acronym* for advise to specific people who may or may not be bored.

I trust I make myself unclear? OK, here’s her one for her dog:

BORED acronym for a dog. Ew.

To kick things off, here’s one for John C Wright’s Evil League of Evil literary movement:

Evil League of Evil - Bored

 

While the mind leaps with suggestions for our Esteemed Leader, the press, and the Studies Studies depart at the nearest state-funded university, for now, let’s do cats. Awwww! Hey, this is the internet, cats are mandatory.

Bored Cat

* OK, I guess technically it’s not an acronym exactly – it’s an acronym-like thingie.

In Today’s Science “News”…

How Planets are Made

Poll finds uptick in share of U.S. public who believe in evolution without divine guidance

From the article:

The share of the U.S. public that believes humans evolved without divine guidance has more than doubled since 1982, a new Gallup Poll finds.

Oddly, they don’t give you the number. Why would they do that? You have to click on this link to find out.

It’s 19%. Fewer than 1 out of 5 Americans ‘believe’ in evolution without divine guidance. That’s not a very strong endorsement.

Add the obligatory sciency-sounding closing paragraph:

Gallup interviewed 1,028 adults by telephone between May 8 and May 11. The margin of error for the entire sample is 4 points.

From the immediately above paragraph we can conclude 2 things:

1. The authors are parroting gibberish they don’t understand;

2. They understand the value of cowing people with sciency-sounding B.S.

Have you ever taken a telephone poll and asked the person what a particular question means?  Try it sometimes. Let’s just say any confidence that such polls accurately reflect anything other than ‘how some guy answered a dumb question asked by a trained self-negating other one afternoon’ is seriously misplaced. To slap a ‘margin of error’ (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) is just merde icing on a cow pie cake. As it were.

But hey! Let’s play along. I’ll even put the data in a graph to make it all scientifilicious:

Believe in stuff

 

These numbers were derived as a result of implementing the current state of the science protocols: people called up other people, usually during dinner, and asked them questions, noted their answers someplace, then totalled them up. Some interns who had taken a stat class once blew the dust of their old textbooks, plugged some numbers in Excel, and declared a startlingly convincing single-digit ‘margin of error’. Then they posted the results to the internet, where all true research takes place, and Google deigned to find them for me.  Isn’t Science! wonderful?

So, these number represent some polster’s take on the answers to questions the exact wording of which we are not given, from some people with telephones and meatloaf cooling on the table. We won’t even mention, because it wouldn’t be nice and nobody does it these days anyway, that these impressive-looking columns are kludged together from polls of different people in different years and different countries. Nope, it is conclusively presumed that a telephone poll number is a telephone poll number is a telephone poll number – and you’re anti-science if you believe otherwise!

All that said, we can conclude from these numbers a few startling and news-worthy bits of Science!

1. The Loch Ness Monster needs a better press agent;

2. 17% of scientists are falling down on the job, as it’s their duty to Science! to declare unguided evolution to explain everything – if they were saying that, we’d expect ALL the 36% of people who trust scientists to regurgitate that position. But they don’t! A well-funded study is in order.

3. How many people believe Bigfoot evolved through purely materialistic means? Yet another well-funded study is in order.

In fact, this is nothing if not a call for more (well funded) study! Do people believe Nessie has been reincarnated? That space aliens have evolved to believe in astrology? Inquiring minds want to know.

Science! marches on, on a belly full of funding.

Who Would EVER Get the Crazy Idea…

…of kidnapping American soldiers to trade for your guys from a totally harmless and not suggestive at all swap of 5 prisoners for a captured soldier? I mean, just because that’s how it worked this one special time, NOBODY would be so foolish as to hope it would work again. Besides, Obama says it won’t suggest such a thing, and he’s almost always right about everything.

I trust all our soldiers out in the Afghan hinterlands are sleeping even better tonight than usual, knowing that, in the incredibly unlikely event that they get captured by the Taliban, the US is totally prepared to swap 5 prisoners for them. Yep, no fear!

Sheesh.

Graduation Musings

Once sat next to a guy on an airplane who, once we got off the ground, pulled out a notebook and began playing with some math formulas way over my head. So I had to ask: he was working on some wave equations that figured into some sensors he was designing for a customer of his. In my ever-going investigations into learning and education, I asked him how he had learned all this.

As young man, out of high school, he entered the Navy. There, after administering a battery of tests, they offered him a position as a radio technician of some sort. He took it, and through the Navy was able to keep studying applied math as it figures into all the radio, radar and electronics on a modern warship. By the time he got out, he was able to parlay all that math into a career. He kept his math up, and now consulted with people designing complex sensors and other gear.

I was impressed – no traditional college to speak of, yet his math chops were fairly awesome, and his career arc very cool. I asked how he did it – he said math is just like learning the piano: 15 – 30 minutes every day, keep it up, and, boom, you’re there.

This week is graduation week at our school. We will graduate 6 students, none of whom had to take any classes whatsoever during their stay at Diablo Valley School. They got to spend their time pretty much however they wanted, with the exception of a few mandatory judicial meetings and cleaning up after themselves. In contrast, well before 12th grade, the typical student has put in over 10,000 hours into schooling. Malcolm Gladwell would say that it takes 10,000 hours to become a world-class expert in anything. So, what are they masters of?

It’s tempting to look at the typical products of our high schools and think: despite putting in enough hours to have mastered a couple foreign languages or musical instruments, or to have learned enough math to design fancy sensors, or any other of a million interesting things, they are not experts in anything: semi-literate, close-minded members of some tribe or other, people who couldn’t think a thought if their lives depended on it.

Yet the reality is worse: they are experts in the one thing they have been infallibly taught. They are experts in schooling.

NONE

They’ll be no trouble at all from here on out, at least for the people for whose benefit all that schooling has been inflicted upon them.

Most will get a job of some sort, and sedate themselves with whatever level of economic achievement befits their school rank. Just as in school, their relationships with other human beings will be managed for them, so that they don’t get too deep or inspiring. When they retire, they will move away from the people they never really knew anyway to some facility where they can be taken care of and supplied appropriate human contact – same old same old.

If some sadness comes to their attention, such as the searing injustice of mediocre English majors having to work at Starbucks, they might bestir themselves to protest something. They will believe that such protests look like the OWS meshugas – unwashed adolescents unable to form a coherent thought, sticking it to the man until it’s time to go home to mom’s place.  No threat at all to the way things are.

Perhaps some, those whose ranking in class was too low for a job worth having even as sedative, will turn to crime and end up in jail – fine, they’re still under control, and no real threat.

10,000 hours to master school. Mastered so well they can do nothing else.